Gareth Southgate reveals Manchester United star Harry Maguire is amongst the best centre-backs at his disposal
While speaking in an interview, as quoted by the Mirror, England manager Gareth Southgate has defended Manchester United star Harry Maguire by saying he remains one of the best defenders at his disposal despite a poor season at the club level.
Maguire hasn’t been at his best for United in the recent campaign. His performance in several big games was below par which was in contrast to his solid form for the Three Lions. The Englishman has played 37 matches across all competitions for the Red Devils but never really seemed convincing at the back on a consistent basis.
However, England manager Gareth Southgate believes that the 29-year-old still remains one of the top defenders and he will continue trusting him ahead of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. He even added that the new United manager might have a different view on the topic.
“There’s obviously a big change around at Manchester United and that’s going to affect everything. For me, he’s still their best centre-back – I’m sure the new manager will watch the games back and have his own view.”
The ex-England international revealed that Maguire has impressed when playing for his country in international competitions and his partnership with John Stones has become crucial for the team’s success.
“For us, with all our data across the season, he’s been the same. Although the perception is that he is at a certain level, he’s still among our top two or three. The fact is that Harry and John have been our best pairing.”
Can Harry Maguire turn things around at United?
Maguire’s disappointing form has arguably played a role in losing out on important points during crucial spells this season. That eventually led to us missing out on UEFA Champions League football.
While he isn’t the sole player that should be blamed for it, Maguire did not help his case by failing to look composed in our backline for an extended period of time.
Erik ten Hag will come in with his own tactics. Whether he trusts Maguire is something only time will tell but what else can you do with a defender who cost your team £80million in transfer fee?
Discarding him would be admitting that United spent a world-record amount on a player that turned out to be a flop. And that is why it won’t be a surprise if the board and/or ten Hag continue to stick with the former Leicester City defender.
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Southgate’s trust in the 29-year-old defender suggests that he is capable of giving expected results. However, why he failed to replicate his form for England at Man Utd is a big question. The managerial change might affect his performance, but at the end of the day, he has to take responsibility and play to his strengths.